They’re Out Of The Zoo Without A Clue

Folger Elementary Students To Perform “Madagascar”


OK, audience, it’s time to just smile and wave, just smile and wave. Folger McKinsey Elementary is preparing for its upcoming show, “Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.” from March 8-9.

Based on the DreamWorks film, the play follows Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo, and a group of plotting penguins as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and embark on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

“‘Madagascar’ captures the kids’ energy and smiles as well as their anxiety about leaving the nest, or in this case, the zoo,” said April Gianvittorio, a parent producer of the Folger McKinsey play. “Last year, we did ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and we wanted to avoid another drama and jump into a comedy. The kids love it and our director, Atticus, was familiar with the play and it was easy to get crack a lackin’ — as Marty the zebra would say!”

Forty-two students are excited to showcase their singing and dancing chops in the comedy. During rehearsals, they have learned some valuable lessons.

“I like that ‘Madagascar’ has so many characters and everyone gets to have a role,” said Carley O'Brien, who plays Zookeeper Zoey. “I have learned to not be afraid and get up there and do your thing!”

Kathryn Sanner said, “I learned that you can do big things if you put your mind to it.”

Kathryn also likes all the story’s twists and turns. The lighthearted show choice was received well by students.

“My favorite part of rehearsal is you are able to act freely without feeling embarrassed,” said Lydia Plessinger, who plays Mason the chimpanzee. “I like having fun instead of being serious. I also enjoy having a fun and friendly community at practice.”

Aanya Gnanakkan plays multiple ensemble roles. “I like how it’s more upbeat and entertaining,” Aanya said when reflecting on the show. “It takes more than actors to make the play. And since I am part of a group, I don’t feel as nervous as if I would do it alone.”

Director Atticus Boidy is doing his part to make the production upbeat and entertaining. Folger McKinsey teacher Andrea Lawrie is the musical director. Tonya Hogue serves as a parent producer, and Tina Larson is the dance coach. A “small army” of parent volunteers has contributed over five months — twice a week after school — as kids memorized lines and songs, learned where to be onstage, and listened for cues from other actors and the music.

The kids are almost ready to share their zany humor with audiences. Along the way, they are cherishing the fun experience.

“My favorite part of rehearsal is being with my friends and being able to just go out there on the stage and be myself,” said Briella Hogue, who plays Alex the lion. “‘Madagascar’ is full of comedy, and I love when the steaks are dancing around the stage, asking to be eaten. I just love the whole experience.”

Students will “move it, move it” during “Madagascar” showtimes on March 8 at 7:00pm and March 9 at 1:00pm and 7:00pm at Folger McKinsey Elementary.

Stay tuned for information regarding ticket sales.

Main Cast

Briella Hogue, Alex the Lion - Zooster

Avery Moyer, Marty the Zebra - Zooster

Alayna Williamson, Melman the Giraffe - Zooster

Aislyn Sowa, Gloria the Hippo - Zooster

Maria Woods, Private - penguin

Charlotte Gibson, Rico - penguin

Audra Fox, Kolowaski - penguin

Makenna Sievers, Skipper - penguin

Ana Gianvittorio, King Julien - lead lemur

Sharon Akinsanmi, Maurice - assistant lemur

Ensemble Cast

Caleb Missimore - Lee the Lemur

Analya Gnanakkan - Foosa leader, New Yorker and server

Lydia Plessinger - Mason the Chimpanzee

Clara Plessinger - Zookeeper Zelda, New Yorker, Animal Control

Valerie Plessinger (all sisters) - cameraman, New Yorker and Foosa

Katheryn Sanner - Foosa, New Yorker and Animal Control

Carley O'Brien - Zookeeper Zoey


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